EJI has released a short preview version of the upcoming film, Cruel and Unusual: Sentencing 13- and 14-Year-Old Children to Die in Prison.
Cruel and Unusual addresses the sentencing of 13- and 14-year-old children to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. In a report first released in fall 2007, EJI documented the cases of 73 children in 19 states who have been condemned to die in prison for offenses committed when they were 13 or 14 years old. Many of these sentences were mandatory and some were imposed for crimes that did not involve homicide or even injury.
Children sentenced to die in prison share tragic histories characterized by abuse, neglect, poverty, mental illness, and the disturbing failure of police, family courts, child protection agencies, foster systems, and health care providers to treat and protect them. Their crimes occur in the midst of crisis, often resulting from desperate, misguided attempts to protect themselves.
Cruel and Unusual shares their stories and explains why EJI believes these sentences are misguided, unconstitutional, and violate international law.